Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard — who is not famous because of his sources in the world of rock ‘n’ roll — recently (a) broke a big story without knowing it or (b) made the kind of picky mistake that U2 fans get hot and bothered about. I am wondering if anyone else out there spotted this and can tell me whether the reference is accurate or not.
So what is the story?
Bono grew up in Dublin with a Protestant mother and a Catholic father, which is a big thing if one is Irish. U2 grew out of friendships in a Protestant high school. Very early on, several members of the band became active Christians in the context of a charismatic house church (check out October), a very free and non-starched form of free-church Protestantism.
It is hard to stick a label on Bono’s faith these days, but he is usually assumed to be a member of the progressive evangelical camp. I know that the band remains close (he joins them on tour from time to time) with the evangelical Anglican who was the chaplain at their high school.
Nevertheless, Barnes made this reference in a recent story titled “Pro Bono: The president and the singer make common cause on Africa” that jumped out at me:
Bush has twice invited Bono to the Oval Office to discuss Africa. The first meeting, in 2002, was joined by several White House aides and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Catholic leader in Washington. Bono is a Catholic.
Now that’s a major story and I have not seen a reference anywhere else.
Yes, that rosary that you see around Bono’s neck came from Pope John Paul II and the singer is as comfortable quoting Catholic sources as evangelical. That’s the rosary that, when the pope died, Bono hung over his microphone stand under a solo spotlight as a quiet tribute.
Still, has anyone out there heard of Bono actually swimming the Tiber?